RCMP report 4th quarter crime stats

Drug trafficking and break and enters are down, which is a credit to the work of the Crime Reduction Unit, says Sgt. Barry Graham.

Cranbrook RCMP are making a dent into drug trafficking locally, as there was a 26 per cent drop in trafficking files the fourth quarter crime report between 2014 and 2015.

Presented by the newly-promoted Sgt. Barry Graham at Cranbrook city council on Monday evening, Graham credited the work on the drug files to the Crime Reduction Unit.

“When we talk about quantity of drugs and the quality of drug investigations, our crime reduction unit is picking up speed and instead of the front-line dial-a-dope small seizures which account for statistical numbers, the quantity of the files are taking in the quality of drugs and we’re getting up the chain of criminal organizations,” he said.

“So the drug files are improving but the actual quantity of the numbers are down.”

Impaired driving investigations are are up by 38 per cent, however, the roadside prohibitions are down 34 per cent from 79 to 52.

Graham also added that the tougher drinking and driving laws passed in 2010 gives RCMP more tools to get impaired drivers off the road, after query from Councillor Tom Shypitka.

“The immediate roadside prohibition is a great tool for us to take these drivers off the road immediately,” Graham said. “It comes with a number of different sanctions, whether it’s the impound fees, the reinstatement of the license, the costs of the overall fines, so it does help.

“Our visibility also deters people from driving [impaired] as well. We find, even going through the high schools now, there’s a lot more education as to the effects of it.”

In terms of Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs), there have been no fatalities within Cranbrook this year, and MVAs are down 12 per cent, while alcohol-involved MVAs are down 21 per cent

Overall, in terms of calls for service, the RCMP received 1,491 within municipal boundaries in 2014, as opposed to 1,504 in 2015. In the rural areas, police responded to 454 calls for service in 2015, as opposed to 435 in 2014.

“Overall, that factors in a two per cent drop in calls for service,” Graham said. “We did see an increase in our prisoners held, which went up 10 per cent throughout the year, which is explained by an increase in sentencing recently. We’ve had a lot of weekenders sentenced to our detachment and it’s upped the count.

“Though our numbers haven’t changed dramatically between 2014 and 2015, we have seen a 28 per cent increase in charges between both years, and that reflected there in our prisoner count.”

Person offences—assaults, sex assaults, assaults with a weapon, robbery, threats, criminal harassment—overall, there was a nine per cent change through the fourth quarter in 2014 to 2015, with a year-end overall 15 per cent increase.

Property-oriented offences—break, enter and theft, mischief of property, thefts, thefts from vehicles—were up seven per cent, however, there was a dramatic 56 per cent decrease in break and enters.

Other criminal code offences—causing a disturbance, breach of bail violations, firearms, offences, public mischief, obstructing a police officer and counterfeit currency, were down six per cent, year-end, up eight per cent.

In terms of traffic violations, 715 tickets were given out in 2015.

Graham also noted that the RCMP is always on the lookout for distracted driving, after a question from Councillor Ron Popoff.

Graham recalled the first ticket he ever wrote out on the offence.

“I know for myself, the first ticket I wrote on it was when I saw a lady in the lane next to me texting and I’m in a marked police car,” Graham said. “I followed her the entire way down Cranbrook St. with my lights on and eventually sirens before she responded.

“…It definitely is a problem, everybody here’s probably seen it countless times during the day and we’re always looking for it and always aware of it.”